As you know, Windows Live Essentials is a pack of Windows apps which includes Mail, Photo Gallery, SkyDrive, Live Writer and many more. With Windows 8 release not so far away, Microsoft released the preview version of the updated Windows Live Essentials, which is now called ‘Windows Essentials 2012’ i.e. without the ‘Live’ branding.
The updated pack includes the new SkyDrive which was released for Windows 8, an advanced Movie Maker and Photo Gallery app.
Movie Maker is now hardware-accelerated and includes video stabilization features, just like YouTube. One out-of-the-box feature included in Movie maker is, the ability to add royalty-free soundtracks to your videos, with the help of music search engines like AudioMicro (many videos on YouTube are brought down for adding soundtracks with no appropriate rights).
While everyone doubted if Live Writer will get updated, Microsoft did care about bloggers and included it in the pack. But, it doesn’t really have any improvements (I’m writing this on Live Writer 2012). Also, it still wears the ‘Live’ branding which is strange.
The pack will work on both Windows 8 as well as Windows 7.
So if you’re running any of those two OSes, grab and try Windows Essentials 2012, either through web installer or the good old offline installer. Note that, with web installer you’ll be able to choose which programs you want to download, instead of downloading the whole pack.